Boston condos for sale. Does a Seller need to respond to an Offer?

Does this story sound familiar? You put an Offer on a Boston Seaport condo for sale? You’re are waiting and waiting for a response, complete silence from the Seller. The question, does the seller have to give a buyer a counter offer? The short answer is no. The seller is under no obligation to respond in any shape, manner or form. Is it smart for a Boston Seaport condo seller not to respond even if the offer was very low? No. But is it in their right to do so? Absolutely.

Boston Condo Seller’s Four Options When Receiving an Offer

The seller has four options when receiving an offer. Those options are:

  1. Agree with all the offer points and accept the offer
  2. Decline the offer – hopefully in a gracious manner
  3. Propose a counter offer
  4. Don’t respond

Why Wouldn’t Sellers Propose a Counter Offer on their Beacon Hill Condo for Sale?

Of course, not responding is rude, disrespectful and shows a gross ignorance of the negotiation process. Why would a presumably serious seller not make a counter offer to a bona fide written offer? The answer, in my experience, lies at the fault of the listing agent.

Smart Sellers Counter Even Low Ball Offers

The listing agent’s job is to educate the seller about the negotiation process. Sellers need help; they don’t negotiate very often. The listing agent cannot control what the buyer offers, but the listing agent can advise the seller that the offer is the first step in a process to find common ground. Boston condo buyers rarely make their first offer their best offer, and occasionally their first offer is a good deal away from what they will really accept.The listing agent should make every effort to convince the seller to propose of counter offer and attempt to advance the negotiation.

Smart Buyers Don’t Make Low Ball Offers

On the other hand, Boston condo buyers who make “low ball” offers – especially in a highly competitive housing market like Beacon Hill  or the Boston Seaport District– are doing themselves a disservice. Patently low ball offers will alienate inexperienced Beacon Hill condo sellers very quickly as they can’t separate the emotional value of their Beacon Hill home and the business details of the transaction. Sometimes when the seller (or buyer) feels insulted, personal ego enters the equation causing everyone to sour on the deal. Deals that would have probably come together are lost because someone’s ego is damaged than any other single reason. Now, don’t misunderstand us. We aren’t saying buyers shouldn’t negotiate lower than list price offers. What we’re saying is don’t offer $100,000 for a home that’s priced (and supported by comps) at $500,000.

Buyers Don’t Know How to Respond to No Response

In today’s Beacon Hill condo market, it’s not uncommon for the seller to respond to “bad offer” by either not responding or simply rejecting the buyer’s offer without any kind of reason. I don’t think that’s a smart approach, but it happens. With so many multiple offers and more than a few over-bids occurring, many buyers are bewildered about the best course of action and how best to proceed. After all, they don’t buy a home very often so they don’t get a lot of practice.

Work with a Buyers Agent who Can Educate and Coach You

It’s extremely important that a downtown Boston condo buyer work with a Buyer’s Agent who is willing and knowledgeable enough to guide and counsel the buyer through each step. To be clear, the buyer’s agent’s job is to educate and explain what options the buyers has and what may or may not be feasible. The buyer’s agent’s job is not a decision making role, but rather that of being a knowledgeable counselor and adviser; the buyer is the sole decision-maker because – after all – it’s your money and your decision.

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Boston Condos for Sale

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Author Profile

John Ford
John Ford

Over the course of 20 years in the Boston downtown real estate market, John represented and sold numerous, condominiums, investment and development properties in Greater Boston and in the surrounding suburbs

In addition to representing Boston condo buyers and sellers, John is currently one of the most recognized Boston condo blog writers regarding Boston condominiums and residential real estate markets. John's insights and observations about the Boston condo market have been seen in a wide variety of the most established local & national media outlets including; Banker and Tradesman, Boston Magazine The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and NewsWeek and Fortune magazine, among others.


For over 24 years, John Ford, of Ford Realty Inc., has been actively involved in the real estate industry. He started his career in commercial real estate with a national firm Spaulding & Slye and quickly realized that he had a passion for residential properties. In 1999, John entered the residential real estate market, and in 2000 John Started his own firm Ford Realty Inc. As a broker, his clients have come to love his fun, vivacious, and friendly attitude. He prides himself on bringing honesty and integrity to the entire home buying and selling process. In addition to helping buyers and sellers, he also works with rental clients. Whether you’re looking to purchase a new Boston condo or rent an apartment, you’ll quickly learn why John has a 97% closing rate.


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John Ford and his staff can be reached at 617-595-3712 or 617-720-5454. Please feel free to stop by John's Boston Beacon Hill office located at 137 Charles Street.

John Ford
Ford Realty Inc
137 Charles Street
Boston, Ma 02114



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